Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

December 27th: 1999 Milwaukee Wisconsin

Franklin and his family went to the big city for a religious retreat; where they’d be spending New Year’s Eve singing hymns and waiting for the apocalypse, anxiously awaiting the apocalypse in Franklin’s case. Thinking back on the events of this past year, he remembered those kids in Colorado. They were doing us all a favor, taking us one more step into the fiery abyss, burning the whole world down and taking out as many people as they could. Way in the back recesses of Franklin’s mind, he wasn’t entirely sure if the world really was going to end in a few days, but he sure hoped it did. Just in case it did, he had one thing he wanted to do.

Sixty-Seven Wild Rose Lane, Franklin remembered where his friend from the message boards lived. He sent an email saying he’d be coming by, and as he saw his car parked outside so Franklin figured he’d be home. Knocking on the door a couple times, Franklin pacing back in forth in the cold. Soon Patrick opened the door. “Hey, what’s up?” he said.

Franklin said only one thing. “So, can I see it?”

Patrick laughed as opened the door. “Nice to see you too dude. Come on in.” Entering the house, Patrick asked “How was your Christmas? Did you get lots of cool stuff?”

“Yeah, a few things.” Franklin didn’t want to reveal that his family only exchanged a few gifts this year, as his mother earnestly believed there wouldn’t be much time to enjoy Christmas gifts.

Then he saw Patrick look up towards his staircase as annoyed as a female voice spoke from above. “Who is it?”

Patrick lowered his voice to say, “Just handled my business with this girl. Wait here, I’ll go get rid of her though.” Patrick watched his friend ascend back up the steps. Soon he heard faint whispers from upstairs, including that incessant whining of a teenage girl which he heard all the time in school. “I guess girls in the big city bitch too,” Franklin thought to himself while looking around the living room. Hanging from the walls there were a few framed pictures of Patrick and his mother. It was a shame, his mother seemed nice. Franklin wished he would have had cool parents, but with any luck, after a few days it wouldn’t matter anymore.

Once again Franklin heard a pair of footsteps, this time they were descending. Franklin forgot about that annoying female voice when his eyes rested on her toned legs coming down. Each step revealed more, as he soon saw her blue skirt with gold trim, and the rest of her body followed.

Patrick followed behind, or at least Franklin assumed she did. He still wasn’t looking at her face when Patrick said whatever it was her name was. “What’s up,” he heard her voice say. Franklin simply nodded and smiled; her voice no longer annoyed him.

Patrick then said “Well, Franklin and I are gonna chill. I’ll call you later alright?”

“Awesome.” Her now cute voice replied. Her moist wet lips kissed his cheek before she gave Franklin a coy smile and walked away. Both Patrick and Franklin were now watching her legs as they walked toward the door and her body exited the house.

Franklin almost forgot why he came here as the door closed with a thud. The next sound he heard was the voice of his friend saying, “smell that,” as he put two fingers up to Franklin’s nostrils. Franklin’s head jerked back at the wet musty smell that was completely alien to him.

Patrick laughed at his reaction. “Come on man, don’t tell me your not getting any poon tang back home. You got a girl right?”

“Yeah, sure.” Franklin said.

Nodding his head Patrick said “Alright, it’s cool. Let’s go upstairs.”

The two walked up the steps and into Patrick’s bedroom. It looked the same as the last time Franklin was here. His sports posters still adorned the wall and his trophy case remained intact. This hardly looked like the room of someone who’d won the Halloween H2K contest. He watched Patrick going into his closet, from which he pulled out a cardboard box. “This is it man.” Patrick said, placing the box on his bed.

Franklin was shocked. “You put it in the closet?”

“Can’t get head from the head cheerleader with this laying aound my room.” he laughed while removing the lid. Franklin had no understanding of what he meant, but he approahced this holy grail of horror while Patrick removed the contents.

First, Patrick pulled out a werewolf mask. “Halloween Six, Curse of the Werewolf.” Franklin said in reverence. Next, Patrick pulled out a prop ceremonial dagger, fake blood decorated its plastic blade. “Part Five, the Revenge of Samhain.”

Looking on as though witnessing an ancient archaeolofical dig, he heard Patrick say “And the crown jewel.” He slowly raised the mask of the Shape, the mask of Michael Meyers, and presented it to his friend. The dead black hollow eyes of the mask stared at Franklin, who stared back in reverence.

“Can I,” Franklin nearly stammered, “can I put it on.”

“Sure, knock yourself out.” He tossed the mask to Franklin. It made a flopping sound as it landed in his hands. “I owe you one anyway.” Franklin looked down at the mask, tilting his head slightly to the left. This statement was confusing to him. When Franklin thought about all the people that owed him, Patrick was not on that list. “You helped me win that you know?” Patrick said while taking seat at his desk and booting up his computer. “I got stuck on that last code, but then I remembered what you showed me about Easter Eggs on DVDs. That’s how I found the last one.” Franklin wanted to scream, instead he pulled the mask over his face, its rubbery material covered his mouth. He could hear his own breathing as well as the sound of a lighter as Patrick lit up a cigarette. “Want one?” he asked, holding a pack in his direction.  Franklin said nothing, but the smoke from the just lit cigarette already made Franklin cough, ruining the aura of donning the mask. Stepping out of the room he heard Patrick say, “Bathroom is the last door on the left.”

Walking into the bathroom, he looked in the mirror to admire the sight of himself in the mask. The room was silent save the sound of his breathing. He could distantly hear the clacking of the keyboard. While he felt amazing with the mask on, he still felt like Franklin. Looking at the reflection of his skinny body donned in blue jeans and a red sweater, he didn’t feel like the Shape. He intended to relieve himself here, but he stopped cold in his tracks when he saw it. The used condom floating in the toilet was a reminder of what had just occurred in that bedroom. It wasn’t like he didn’t know; the scent of Patrick’s two fingers clued him in, but there floating before him was a mocking reminder of what he never had, what he never would have. Slowly turning away, he again caught his reflection in the mirror. Those dead black eyes stared back at him; his breathing echoed powerfully through the rubber surrounding his face. Now it had finally come, that secret signal had been sent to his brain, and the body standing before him was no longer Franklin, it was merely a shape.

Patrick laughed as the form of his friend stood in the doorway. “You make a good Michael Meyers.” he said sarcastically. The brain underneath that rubber mask screamed, “It’s not Michael Meyers it’s the Shape!” However, no sound emerged from the body’s mouth as it took a slow step forward. Looking back at the computer screen, it appeared Patrick was in some local chat room. “Hey, my friend Shaun is having a party tonight. Let’s check it out. They’re gonna have some wicked egg nogg.”

The body behind Patrick remained silent as the computer shut off. Patrick then stood up and faced his friend saying, “Come on, you’re not going to the party looking like that. We’ll get you some girls and you’ll forget all about this shit.”

The body before him remained motionless, making no sound except his breathing.

“Oh so you’re Michael Meyers now. Come on let me get it back.” Patrick reached up for the mask but the body before him pushed his hands away.  “What the fuck man!” Patrick pushed shoved the person before him, then got pushed back while reaching for this mask with his own hands. Patrick’s hands gripped the rubber mask; but a second pair of hands hung onto it like a petulant child. “You’re gonna rip the mask you asshole!” Patrick swung a body shot which made the shape before him recoil and release his hands. Patrick then ripped the mask off the child’s face. Franklin took a deep breath as beads of sweat fell from his cheeks to the floor.

Patrick then tossed the mask on his bed before saying, “Get the fuck out of my house!”

With all his strength and rage Franklin punched Patrick in the groin, bringing him to his knees. Still feeling the pain in his gut, Franklin knew the truth, he was no Shape. He could never take this guy in a fight. He knew there was only one chance as he reached for the thick power cord below Patrick’s desk. While Patrick’s hands still covered his groin, Franklin wrapped the cord around the teenager’s exposed neck. Patrick desperately tried to pull off, he was the stronger of the two but Franklin the cord tightly wrapped around the boy’s throat. The victim desperately thrashed around the floor, but Franklin couldn’t let him get away. He couldn’t stand knowing someone else had gotten what was rightfully his. Not only did this boy win the prize, but he had friends, girls,…sex.

His victim now had his stomach on the floor. Franklin thrust his hips forward pulling upward on the cord with all his strength. Patrick made one final thrash of his arms before the life left his body.

Rising back to his feet, Patrick looked at the Meyers mask as well as the other prizes that were now his by right of conquest. Grabbing a backpack from the closet, Franklin loaded the items into the bag, and quickly exited the house.

Running back to the Church where his family was staying, the night air chilled his lungs. If the world really was going to end in a few days, then at least he could spend his last days with the only things he loved.

Epilogue: August 25th: 2003

Driving in his car, Franklin long forgot about how the world was supposed to end a few years back. He still felt like most of this planet wasn’t worth a damn, but that was only when he took time to think about it. A few years back, he was actually planning to follow in the footsteps of those kids in Colorado, but then someone called him about a job. This was before he graduated, but someone recommended him to the local nursing home. Bernice and her husband were in there now, and he always got along with them. Now that he was out of school, he was working at the home full time, and he kind of liked it. He was still living at home, but his dad stopped drinking, and his mom wasn’t on his case as much now that he was bringing in some income.

Also, in an amazing turn of events, things were actually a little exciting around town. Just a few weeks ago some remains turned up just a few miles away from where he lived. Looked like someone was trying to wipe out this boring place long before he’d thought of it. “Too bad he didn’t get them all,” he thought to himself. Driving back to work from his lunch break, the radio had the latest news. The local sheriff called a press conference, and a huge bombshell was dropped. The property on which the bodies were found was once the residence of a solitary figure by the name of Edward Gein. Apparently, around 50 years ago, Ed had murdered a local bartender, but that was not the least of his crimes. According to the sheriff, one night, almost half a century ago, the local authorities had discovered, and covered up, the fact that Ed Gein had robbed almost ten graves in the area, before dying and before his property burned to the ground.

Hearing this amazing news, Franklin felt a tingling sensation in his hands while they gripped the steering wheel. He had to pull over to the side of the road as he began hyperventilating. Hearing this news, he could never have imagined, never in his wildest dreams, that something this awesomely gruesome could occur in his own backyard. He knew right then and there this was about to become his new obsession.

Something else occurred to him. Edward Gein, he’d heard that name before, but where? Who would have possibly known him that would ever bring his name up. Looking down at his name badge for the nursing home, he thought perhaps Bernice would know something about this.

Finally catching his breath, he looked at the tree close to him on the side of the road. The branches looked oddly shaped, bending in a way he didn’t think branches could bend. A buzzard sat perched on a thick branch and glared at him with dead black eyes. There below the leaves, a man stood. Frankling hadn’t noticed him before, but he wore a red hunters cap, had a weird lopsided grin, and a saggy baggy eye.

The End

Come back later for Franklin’s awful exploits in the final entry of the No Gein saga.

Stay tuned for No Gein III: The Final Cut!

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October 27th, 1999. Plainfield Wisconsin

“No, no, please God help me!” The voice of a young Ozzy Osbourne bellowed over the speakers on the Black Sabbath track that Franklin selected for this room in the Hell House, the local Church’s Halloween attraction designed to scare patrons into accepting Jesus. Franklin’s skull mask clung tightly to his face as he screamed and made monstrous sounds to the teenagers, some of whom fled in tears. Ghastly imagery of skulls and death adorned his section of this controversial haunted house. He was disappointed the whole attraction was not horror such as this. The Hell House had different rooms the patrons went into which recreated real world scenarios. A man who marries another man ends up dying of AIDS, a young girl gets raped at a party then kills herself, a single mother dies from an abortion. Franklin almost volunteered to do the school shooting simulation, but he managed to talk to the pastor into letting him design the Devil’s lair. Franklin took pride in this little slice of hell he made for himself. He was surprised they let him play Black Sabbath music, but then it occurred to Franklin, the organizers probably didn’t know what Sabbath sounded like.

“I told you I wasn’t gonna like this.” Franklin heard a familiar voice say as a new group of teenagers walked in.

“You knew who was hosting this, what did you think you were going to see?” Ben argued with his girlfriend Lindsey as he followed from behind. Franklin’s heart raced as he saw them both. Rumor around school was everyone’s favorite couple was on the rocks, and now Franklin was seeing it with his own eyes which watched from the skull mask.

“You know we gave these assholes are money for them to spread this shit! Gays are going to hell, single mothers. That girl that got raped, really?” Personally, Franklin enjoyed the skit about the girl who went to a rave and got drugged and raped and then committed suicide. Of course the rapists weren’t portrayed as going to hell.

Otherwise, Franklin was indifferent to the issues Lindsey raised, he was just happy for the chance to scare people, but now he was ignoring the other teenagers who walked by. Some stopped to admire his mask; others ignored him. Franklin didn’t notice them either, as his gaze remained fixed on Lindsey.

“Hey asshole aren’t you supposed to scare us or something?” Franklin turned to see the face of his classmate Ken standing before him.

“Fuck off.” Franklin answered back. His gaze remained on the young couple, who quickly exited the exhibit, not stopping to see the room he worked so hard on.

“Wait, is that you Franklin?” Ken said in surprise, recognizing his classmate’s voice. Looking over his outfit he said “You know that’s actually a cool costume. I dig it.”

“Dig this, asshole.” Franklin gave his classmate the middle finger.

“Come on man, we came here to get scared.”

“Tupac sucks cocks in hell motherfucker!” Franklin shouted as he leaned forward, thrusting his skull mask into Ken’s face.

“Hey fuck off man, what’s your problem?” Ken pushed Franklin away in protest. Franklin pushed him back, shouting and commotion followed.

Soon the minister hosting the event came in. “Hey that’s enough!” Focusing on Ken and his friends, the minister said ‘You guys get out of here, I’ll handle this.”

The others stormed out. “I already told you about your language,” the minister said to Ken, “and now your starting fights?”

“They started it.”

“That’s enough of this, get out of here.”

“But this is still open for another hour?”

“I said get out of here, you’re done!”

Franklin thought to himself it was probably a good thing he got to leave that stupid Church thing early, as today was a day he’d long waited for. Halloween H2K was being released on DVD today. From the Church, Franklin walked to Worden’s hardware store, which carried new DVD releases. Passing the magazine rack, he saw the new issue of World of Wrestling was in. Too bad that Sable slut was on the cover. That bitch couldn’t even wrestle but because since she looks like a damn Barbie doll, she gets the cover. He rolled up the magazine so people couldn’t see what he had as then approached the DVD rack. Of course, they had that stupid Star Wars movie. He also saw copies of the Matrix, Fight Club, but no Halloween. Franklin couldn’t understand. He was told earlier the store would be getting it. His eyes scanned the rack over and over as his heart slowly sunk. He should have known better than to expect this little shit town to keep up with the rest of civilization.

“Can I help you sir.” That dweeb four eyed clerk asked him.

“I thought you were getting H2K?” Franklin said. The confused look the face of this ignoramus gave revealed how clueless they were. “The new Halloween movie?” Franklin added. “It was coming out on DVD this week.”

“Oh yeah, those movies with Michael Meyers.” This guy was a total idiot, Franklin thought to himself, as Michael Meyers hadn’t appeared in Halloween movies in almost 20 years. “Yeah, we had a few of them.” the clerk said. “They must have sold out already.”

Franklin rolled his eyes in disgust. He’d rather they never had it at all than to have it be here then taken away. Bad enough his mom made him take his horror posters down once she started going to Church, but now he missed out on getting the DVD because of this stupid Hell House. “Well,” Franklin held is magazine up in defeat, “I guess I’ll just take this then.”

“That Sable’s pretty hot huh?” the same dorky clerk asked Franklin while at the register.

Franklin shrugged his shoulders as if the question were completely alien to him. “Let me guess,” the clerk said, laughing, “you just read the articles.” Of course, he read it for the articles, Franklin thought to himself as he handed over his cash. Why else would he be buying it?

“Franklin.” He heard an elderly voice as he collected his change. “How are you?” Franklin turned to see elderly Bernice standing before him. “I thought you were working at the Ghost House?”

“Oh, well I was.” His voice trailed off.

“Anyway, come back to the office I have something for you.” Bernice was the long retired owner of Worden’s hardware store, but she still came in once and a while to do odds and ends, mostly for something to do. She led him back to the manager’s office. No one was in at the moment. Flipping the lights on she asked “What do you got there.” referring to the now bagged item Franklin carried.

“Just a wrestling magazine.”

“Oh, I know why you bought that.” Bernice said with a glimmer in her eye. “That Sable’s gorgeous!” Reaching into a bag that rested on the desk she said “I wish they would put the Rock on the cover.” Franklin blushed in embarrassment as Bernice boasted. “He could pin me anytime!”

His mood instantly elevated as she removed the contents of the bag. “I knew you’d like this so I saved one for you. Think of it as an early Christmas present.” Franklin eagerly snatched the item presented to him. It was a DVD case, the cover of which looked like a computer monitor dripping with blood. The green Matrix-like letters read ‘Halloween: H2K.”

“Wow, awesome.”

“I knew you’d like it.”

“Franklin” he’d already turned around by now but stopped in his tracks. When he turned back around she said “You can be a nice boy. Maybe invite some friends over to watch your movie. A boy your age should have friends you know?”

“Yeah, yeah OK thanks.” Franklin said before leaving.

Walking outside, Franklin stared at the DVD reading the contents on the back; audio commentary by the director, behind the scenes features, a stick on the plastic indicated about the contest. This DVD was the key to a contest where he could win the original Michael Meyers Mask. Soon Franklin felt his body bump into something. A mat of brownish hair swatted his face, and for just a second he felt the smooth skin of a female.

The sound of groceries hitting the sidewalk preceded her voice “Oh, Franklin, I’m so sorry.” Lindsey said, kneeling down picking up her items.

Embarrassed, he looked back at Worden’s, where through the window he could see Bernice smiling at him. Seeing the chance before him, he knelt down and helped her pick up her things. “Thanks.” Lindsey said, smiling at him. This was the first time she’d spoken to him in forever. She was wearing a plain brown sweater, not that nice holiday themed one Ben got her last year. His heart raced as he remembered the gossip around school. Word was that she’d broken up with Ben, and what he’d seen earlier tonight seemed to have confirmed this.

She spoke to him again after putting her things in the trunk of her car. “I heard you were working at that Hell House. I didn’t see you there.”

“Yeah, my shift was over so..” his voice trailed off before asking, “Did you like the Hell room?”

“Um, I didn’t stay long. Not my thing you know.” Spying the wrestling magazine in his hand Lindsey said “Is that a wrestling book?” He nodded, embarrassed by the cover he knew she saw.

“Yeah, and I just picked this up.” Franklin held up his new prized possession.

“Oh cool, what is that?” she asked.

“Uh, it’s the new Halloween movie.”

“Oh nice, you always did like that stuff.” Lindsey said as she opened the car door.

“Yeah, uh,” he couldn’t believe he finally had the courage to ask, “would you want to come over and watch it with me?”

“I have to get home.” She answered as she sat down in the car seat. “Besides I’m no good with scary stuff, it’s too much for me.”

Franklin looked back at the store, where on the doorway there was a poster for the upcoming school winter formal.

“Uh Lindsey.”

“Yes.”

“I was thinking about going to the Winter Dance.”

“Really, that’s great.” She smiled at him and reached out and touched his arm.

“I was wondering if you’d want to go with me.”

“Oh Franklin.” For the second time tonight, his heart sank. “You know I’m going out with Ben.”

“I heard you broke up.”

“Since when do you listen to the school gossip.” she giggled before saying, “Ben and I had an argument but we’re fine. I’m sorry Franklin but I’m going to be going with Ben.” Now Franklin was struggling to fight back his tears. “You should ask one of the other girls at school. I’m sure you can find someone to go with.” Someone else? Who else would possibly go with him? A cold wind blew over Franklin, rustling the leaves about him. “I’m sorry Franklin but I have to go. See you.”

He winced at the sound of the door slamming shut before the engine came on. Then, Franklin heard another sound behind him, it was the blaring of a car horn, followed by the blaring of his mother’s voice. “Franklin, stop talking to that girl and get over here. We’re going home.”

Lindsey politely waved goodbye as she drove away. “What happened?” His mother asked. “Why were you getting in fights at the Hell House.”

“I don’t know, they were just some dumb kids.”

“Well why were you talking to that girl? Who is she?”

“It’s just a girl from school mom.”

“Probably some slut.” She said as she drove away.

As soon as they got home they could both smell the beer. Franklin’s father had been sober for a while, but now he was sitting on the couch watching TV while cans of beer lay about.

”Oh,” Franklin’s mother said. “so I guess you didn’t go get a job today?”

Franklin didn’t bother sticking around to watch the argument. He had more important things to do anyway. He forgot all about his parents, the Hell House, and that stupid dance once he popped the DVD in. He turned up the volume, drowning the shouting of his parents below.

He pulled out his notebook while the DVD menu loaded. From the H2K website he solved various online puzzles and answered trivia questions. For his success he was emailed special instructions to find nine hidden codes on this DVD. Whoever emailed the nine codes in first would win the grand prize, which was various props from the Halloween movies, including the original Michael Meyers mask.

Franklin’s eyes scanned every frame of the movie as it played, always searching the background for clues.  Any terror and suspense the movie might have offered was not able to phase this viewer. Soon, however, Franklin was startled not from the content of the movie but from the sound of his door slamming. His drunk father stumbled through the doorway, his eyes lazily looked around the room. “What are you doing?” he slurred. “You don’t have a girl up here do you?” After looking at the strange imagery on the TV screen he said “Of course you don’t.” Stumbling forward, eying the DVD case he added. “Your into all this weird shit. Why don’t you play some sports. Go out and get a girl.” Then, looking back at the TV, he asked  What is this?”

 “Dad don’t!” Franklin said as his father pushed the TV, making the DVD player on top slide part way off.

In response, his father pushed the TV harder, this time making it tip for just a moment. His fingers also accidentally hit the DVD panel. The sound of the DVD tray opening accompanied the banging sound of the whole device hitting the floor.

“What is going on in here?” Franklin’s mother burst into the room. His parents resumed they’re argument but at least took it out in the hallway. Franklin quickly knelled down to look at his electronics equipment. The lights were still on on the display of the DVD player, indicating that it still worked. Still, it was too late, the damage was already done. Franklin’s face reflected up at him from part of the DVD, tears fell from his eyes onto part of the disc. These tears wouldn’t change the fact that this DVD that was just gifted to him was now cracked in half.

April 20th, 1999 Tri-Country High School, Plainfield Wisconsin

Franklin was used to the scowls of his fellow students as he walked in the computer lab. To him this single room was the only place in this building that was worth a damn. Certainly better than the gymnasium. Of course some kids were wasting it looking up basketball scores or celebrity gossip. One was reading something about Hitler. That bitch Lynda was sitting next to one of the only open computers. He could feel her skin crawl as he sat down next to her. He wondered what the fuck her problem was anyway. She was sitting there looking up shit about weed. In his mind the TV hanging overhead would come loose and land on her fucking head. Maybe then she’d finally chill the fuck out.  

He forgot about her as soon as the Macintosh booted up. He immediately went to his favorite forum. He dropped a few random posts. Some douche bags had a whole thread on humorous moments in the X-Files series. Stupid assholes, don’t they know X-Files isn’t supposed to be funny? On the Halloween forums he also exchanged a few posts with ShapeDude. He seemed like a cool guy, a fellow Halloween fan who lived in Milwaukee. He wished cool people like him went to this school instead of all these worthless sacks of shit.

One post got his attention, “New questions are up.” This was on the forum for the H2K contest. He immediately typed h2k.com into the url bar, bringing up the promotional website for the upcoming Direct to DVD release, Halloween: H2K. His mouse immediately clicked on the quiz section and the first question loaded.

What name was Michael Meyers listed as in the credits of Halloween?  “Any idiot knows that.” Franklin thought to himself as he clicked “The Shape.”

Then the next question loaded. The word Samhain was on the screen followed by several phonetic spellings of it. The question was “How do you pronounce Samhain?” In Halloween 2, Donald Pleasance, who plays Dr. Gavin, mispronounces it as Sam-HAYNE. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Samhain, corrected this mistake, which is how Franklin knew the correct answer as he clicked on saa.wn

Franklin shook his fist in triumph as the website scored his points for another correct answer. If he kept answering correctly, he would remain on the leader board, which was one factor in the H2K contest. The grand prize of which was a collection of props from the various Halloween movies, including one of the original Michael Meyers masks from the first Halloween.

“What are you looking at freak?” Franklin turned around to see Ken, one of his classmates. His eyes stared at him judgmentally through his thick rimmed glasses.

“Says the guy looking at dead bodies.” Franklin retorted, commentating on the JPEG image of a black man laying on a steel slab displayed on the light blue Macintosh monitor.

“Dude, do you even know who this is?” Ken sounded shocked at Franklin’s ignorance but, Franklin really didn’t know who it was. He did know no one was supposed to be looking at rotten.com, a website notorious for its graphic pictures of corpses which Ken loaded on his screen.

Deciding to be a smart ass, Franklin replied, “Who is it, your boyfriend?”

“Hey don’t you insult Tupac!”

“X-Pac,” Franklin sarcastically said, “Isn’t that the wrestler?”

“Man shut the fuck up!” Again pointing to his screen Ken nearly shouted “This guy was one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century, not some fake ass wrestler.”

Franklin wouldn’t reveal this, but once Ken said “Tupac” he did realize who Ken was talking about. Of course Franklin’s frame of reference for Tupac Shakur was his appearance in Halloween: Resurrection of the Vampire. In fact, the only Tupac song he knew was the one that appeared on Resurrection’s soundtrack. This didn’t stop Franklin from answering “Your mom’s tits are fake.”

“Oh, you mother fucker.” Ken sprung out of his seat to approach Franklin. The ruckus finally got the teacher’s attention. “Hey, knock it off guys.” he said in a stern voice. Some students snickered at how the teacher finally payed attention to his students, instead of looking up news about the new Star Wars movie.

Ken stopped in his tracks and Franklin turned his gaze to the doorway as Lindsey walked in. She looked upset. Franklin gasped audibly as she rapidly drew closer. Stopping in front of his chair, her body stretched upwards, lifting the material on her shirt exposing her navel. Her slender fingers pushed the button, and after the electronic buzzing sound the TV turned on. Franklin now watched her fingers frantically flip through the channels before stopping on CNN. The 24 hour news channel broadcast an aerial shot of what looked like a high school. Hundreds of kids were running out, their hands all raised above their heads as police cars surrounded the building. Franklin smirked to himself while other kids gasped at the image of handmade sign reading “I bleeding to death,” followed by footage of police officers helping a bloody teenager come out of a shattered window. The headline below read “Multiple dead at Columbine High School.”

12/31/1998 Plainfield, Wisconsin.

“Man, I can’t believe they ended the streak!” Tommy complained as he carried a case of Coke into the kitchen.

“Wait,” Ben said as he followed behind with several bags of chips. “Goldberg got beat?” Ben was shocked at what he’d just heard. Goldberg, the World Championship Wrestling superstar, had gone 173-0 into his title defense at Starrcarde, a Pay Per View event that occurred just four days prior. Putting the chips on the kitchen table. “That’s bullshit.” Ben protested, putting the chips on the kitchen table. Ben then noticed Bernice, Tommy’s great grandmother and host of their New Year’s Eve party standing right there. “Oh, sorry Mrs. Worden.” he said.  

“Oh, that’s OK dear.” Bernice laughed, waving her hand dismissively.

Her husband Ronnie sat next to her and laughed as well, adding “Yeah, you kids hear worse than that on South Park.”  

“You know that wrestling’s all just a show, right?” Lindsey rhetorically asked while bringing in a bag of popcorn.

“I know, but it’s still bullshit.” Ben answered his girlfriend before asking Lindsey’s brother Tommy, “So how did they do it?”

Tommy then gave a recap of the predetermined bout. “Scott Hall came down to ringside and zapped Goldberg with a taser. Then Nash power bombed him and got the pin.”

 “That totally sucks.” Ben responded.

“Well, I don’t mind seeing more of Kevin Nash.” Bernice’s round face lit up as she chimed in. “They don’t call him big sexy for nothing!”

Tommy turned to his great grandfather via marriage and joked “You hear that, Ronald? You might have some competition.”

Ronald responded by holding up his cane and boasting “I’ll take him on in a steel cage!” Adding, “Wouldn’t be the first time I had to fight for her.”

“Maybe they’ll book a Bernice Worden on a pole match.” Ben joked, referring to one of the gimmick matches used on wrestling programming.

“Oh, trust me, there’s no competition for my Ronnie.” Bernice playfully put his arm around her husband of forty years before saying, “As a matter of fact, I’ve started calling him big sexy!”

“Nanna!” Lindsey blushed in embarrassment.

“You laugh but you’ll get old someday too.” Ronnie retorted, squeezing his wife’s hand. They’d been blessed with a long happy marriage. Ronnie, in fact, was Bernice’s second husband, but Bernice had been the longtime owner of the local Worden’s hardware store. It never bothered Ronnie that most people in the town still called her Mrs. Worden.

Soon Tommy, Lindsey and Ben went into the living room where they joined some of their other high school classmates watching Dick Clark on the big screen TV. Bernice and Ronald followed behind when they heard a knock at the door. “Come in.” Bernice said. Ben felt a little uncomfortable seeing the scowls some of his classmates gave as his childhood friend Franklin walking through the door.

Bernice, however, was happy to see him. “Oh Franklin. How are you?” she happily greeted. Then, noticing the stack of Tupperware containers he was carrying she asked, “What do you have there?”

“Mother baked some cookies.” Franklin answered.

“Oh, that’s great well you can put them in the kitchen.” Bernice said.

Ben then stood up, saying “Here I’ll give you a hand with those.” before taking one of the containers off his friend.

Following Franklin into the kitchen Ben asked, “We were just talking about Starrcade, did you see it?”

“Yeah, you know Nash is the booker now, right?” Ben was confused at this ‘booker’ term his friend used, not knowing it referred to the person in a wrestling company who determines the outcomes of the matches. “So, of course he booked himself to win the title.” Franklin prattled on. “Did you see Nash challenged Goldberg for a rematch for next Monday. I bet it ends with a run in from Hall. Same old predictable shit!” he concluded while carelessly tossed the Tupperware container he was carrying on the kitchen table.

Ben was used to Franklin’s conversations going on like a runaway train. In an attempt to derail Franklin’s complaints about the modern state of professional wrestling he said, “OK, well thanks for coming man. We’re gonna have a good time.”

“Yeah, especially because we got this.” Franklin pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels from his winter coat.

“What are you doing with that?” For the second time tonight, Ben was in shock.

“Stole it from my dad’s cabinet.”

“You can’t be doing that!” Ben nearly shouted. 

“Chill out, he’ll be so blank tonight he won’t even notice it’s gone.”

Looking out in the living room in a panic, Ben insisted “Look it’s disrespectful to Bernice. Put that away!” Ben was no angel, he and Lindsey occasionally snuck a few beers out in the fields, but all their parents trusted Bernice and Ronnie to host a New Year’s Eve party without any shenanigans.

“OK, sorry man.” Franklin said. Ben knew Franklin got the message, as he always got on well with Mrs. Worden.

Tucking the bottle back in his winter coat Franklin asked, “So, you think they’ll want to watch the trailer?”

Once again Ben was confused. “What trailer?”

“You know, on the Sci-Fi channel.”

“The Sci-Fi Channel?” Ben was always patient with Franklin, but his patience was beginning to wear thin. He knew no one else in this house would want to watch the Sci-Fi Channel on New Year’s Eve.

“Yeah, you know,” Franklin’s tone suggested he fully expected his only friend to fully comprehend what he meant. “At midnight the Sci-Fi channel is going to show the H2K trailer.”

“H2K?” Once again, Ben had no idea what his friend was talking about.

“Yeah, the new Halloween movie that will be out next year.”

“Dude, it’s New Year’s Eve! We’re here to watch the ball drop. Besides, the Spice Girls are gonna be on. Wouldn’t you rather see them?” The disappointed look on Franklin’s face suggested he had no interest in the quintet of sexy British singers that were all the rage this past year. He should have expected as much out of his nerdy friend. “Tell you what,” Ben conceded, “I’m sure it will turn up online. You can come over my house later next week and I’ll download it OK?”

Franklin nodded, seemingly agreeing to his friend’s suggestion. Then they both heard the sound of female laughter. From the kitchen Ben could see Lindsey sitting on the living room couch. She was wearing that red and green holiday themed sweater which was his present to her this past week. Her brown hair shined as the still hanging Christmas lights blinked above her like stars floating above a calm sea.

“So,” the voice of his friend brought Ben out of his brief trance. “You’re here with Lindsey?”

In the TV room Ronnie asked, “You playing basketball this year?”  

“Yeah, we’re gonna have a good season.” Lindsey answered confidently, adding “I hope we win districts this year.” She then noticed her friend and teammate Lynda staring blankly off to the side. “What do you think Lynda?” she asked.

“Yeah, I hope so.” Lynda’s voice held no enthusiasm, but she did add, “Amhurst has a good team though.” referring to another school district not terribly far from their tiny little town.

“What’s wrong Lynda, not feeling the holiday spirit?” Lindsey asked.

Staring into the kitchen, Lynda blurted out, “Can I just ask, who invited him?”

Lindsey didn’t like hearing one of the girls complain about Franklin’s presence, but at the same time, she understood. “I think Ben did.” she replied.

“Why?” Lynda asked with a sternness in her voice. “Doesn’t it bother you that he’s friends with that weirdo?”

“Oh, you kids.” Bernice interjected. “Franklin is such a nice boy.”

“You just think he’s nice because he asks you about scary stories all the time. His dad’s a total drunk, you know my mom said he….” Her jaw then froze as she saw Franklin had entered the room with Ben following behind.

Franklin ignored the comment Lynda was about to make, and mostly kept to himself as the night went on. The youths enjoyed the cookies and snacks provided as they watched Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, and in time Franklin’s presence went almost unnoticed, as if he were an invisible member of the party. As it drew close to midnight, the moment Ben previously spoke about arrived. All the boys grinned as the Spice Girls performed on the TV. While watching them dance Ben felt a pair of arms wrap around his neck. He could feel the wool from the sweater he’d purchased brush against his skin as Lindsey’s red lips whispered in his ear “So, which Spice Girl would I be.”

“Hmm, that’s a tough choice.” Ben answered as he reached up and playfully squeezed her hands.

A whisper again slipped into his ear as he felt her hot breath say, “Well you can figure it out upstairs.” His eyes then watched her body coyly walk away and ascend up the steps. Ben waited a few minutes before standing up himself. He made like he was going to walk into the kitchen but then quickly turned toward the steps. Quickly glancing back, everyone’s eyes were still on the TV watching the Spice Girl’s performance, except Ronnie. Ben froze as Ronnie looked directly at him, but then Ben noticed the mischievous grin on the old man’s face. Ronnie nodded at him, indicating he knew exactly what the score was before turning his gaze back to the sexy women dancing on the screen.

As Ben climbed to the top of the steps, he saw Lindsey’s slim figure standing in the dark, her arms stretched out waiting for him. She gave a quick kiss on the lips before leading him by hand down the dark corridor. Stopping at a door, she turned around to whisper, “When I was a kid I would stay in this room.” She then audibly gasped, something had startled her. Ben then noticed a faint light coming out the crack of the door, accompanied by inaudible sounds.

“Looks like someone beat you to it.” Ben said, figuring some other couple snuck in here with the same idea. He saw the giddy look on Lindsey’s face as she slowly pushed the door open, expecting to catch some young lovers in the act. Her body then jumped back, in the faint electronic glow Ben could see Lindsey cover her mouth. Before Ben could ask what was wrong, she stormed in her old room and said one word.

“Franklin!” There he was, sitting on the floor by himself, bottle of Jack to his side, and the TV providing the only light in the room. Ben recognized the planet like symbol on the bottom right corner of the TV screen as well as the end credits of show Franklin apparently was just watching. Night Skies, a TV spin-off of that 80’s Spielberg movie about alien abductions, was one of the few things Ben and Franklin shared these days. Franklin came over every week to watch it with him, even though he often complained about it, just like he complained about wrestling; but, like wrestling, he never missed an episode. Sometimes Ben wondered if Franklin just came over to get away from his parents.

“Shh” Franklin was visibly annoyed as he looked back at Lindsey saying, “The trailer’s about to come on.”

Franklin turned back to the TV excited as he watched a clock on the screen counting down. Once it hit zero, he was again visibly annoyed by the cheering downstairs. The new year of 1999 meant nothing to him. The most important thing in his universe at this moment was the trailer for the new Halloween movie.

Leaning closer to the TV screen to turn the volume up, the speakers on the TV emitted sound of keystrokes as digital letters appeared on the screen. Several keystrokes spelled out the words Halloween, apocalypse, then the sound of a 56k modem connecting filled the television speakers as something else was typed on the screen, the number 2000.  

The trailer then cut to some characters who looked like technicians working in a computer lab. One of the female technicians who wore a strange necklace said some lines about the druid calendar. Franklin knew this exposition was just bullshit for the movie, but he listened as the on-screen character explained how the druids believed, according to this movie, that the end of time would not come on January first, as some were predicting with the recent Y2K scare, but on October 31rst. The older male technician said one word in his thick British accent. “Halloween.”

That familiar theme music from the John Carpenter franchise hit as he heard a familiar voice rap over it. Franklin was alien to the world of Hip Hop, but he recognized the voice from Halloween Resurrection of the Vampire. Franklin was pretty sure it was the same rapper from that early 90’s soundtrack that he was hearing now. The lyrics went hard as various characters appeared to come to mysterious deaths. Franklin’s eyes scanned the screen for Easter eggs. It was just a flash of a moment, but on the screen, it was shown someone was looking at a website about the sea monster from Halloween H20. Franklin’s mother took him to see that movie, what was just a few short months ago now seemed like another life, before his dad lost his job, and before his dad found the bottle. Franklin’s momentary lapse in concentration ended as the title Halloween H2K was typed out on the screen. After a quick flash of light another set of text appeared, www.h2k.com

“That was awe…” Franklin excitedly turned around but stopped mid-sentence to see Ben and Lindsey’s embrace. Outside, through the window, fireworks spread across the empty sky. Inside, the couple’s lips were tightly locked, Franklin watched Ben’s hand move up his girlfriend’s torso, inching oh so close to her breast, but it stopped as both their eyes opened to see their nerdy friend kneeling before them, bottle of Jack in hand.

Lindsey gasped aloud as Ben looked down with pity to say. “Oh, sorry bud.” Franklin remained silent. He simply turned away to switch the TV off as he heard Ben say one more thing. “Happy New Year.”

No Gein: A Second Helping

Chapter Sixteen. Deviant

Hallow-con, New York City, October 2004

“I don’t know, do you!” Franklin hated newbies, and this one was ruining his Orpheus session. The new World of Darkness role playing supplement was right up Franklin’s alley, but the player next to him was wrecking the mood asking stupid questions like “Do you I have a flashlight?” 

Even worse was the game master was some dumb girl. “Cool it pal!” she said to him through her black lipstick laced lips before encouraging the newbie to be even more newbish. “If you want to have a flashlight, I’ll let you have one, but next time write it down on your items list. OK?”

“Have you even run a campaign before?” Franklin asked. Now he had the woman’s attention, along with everyone else at the table. 

“Really? You’re gonna question my cred!” Franklin didn’t understand why she got so upset over a simple question. “You’re playing a sleeper, you’re cryogenically frozen and your body ejected your soul,” then pointing to the young teenager Franklin previously berated, she continued, “He is a Hue, which is like a Spirit except while alive he took the drug pigment which kept his spirit from being fulfilled.” 

“Whatever.” Franklin thought to himself. He figured she probably got a cheat sheet from her man or whatever which was probably the only reason she got this gig as a gamemaster, or storyteller as they called it in World of Darkness. He figured this fake fan probably could see the unimpressed look on his face as she just kept running her bitch mouth.

“If that’s not enough, asshole, I can tell you the thirteen clans in Vampire the Masquerade, or the sixteen tribes that serve Gaia in Werewolf the Apocalypse, or I could just save us all the headache and tell you to get the fuck out of here right now!”

Franklin was flabbergasted. How dare she talk to him like that? He traveled a long way to get here and this is what he gets. “You can’t kick me out!” he protested.

“It’s my game and I have the discretion. If you have a problem with it check the convention guidebook. You’ve been a shitty player and I can tell you’re a shitty human and we don’t need that in our community!”

“Fuck you bitch I’m outta here.” Franklin tossed his dice toward the woman as he stormed away. 

“Kick his ass Vicki!” he heard one of the players taunting. Probably some white knight douchebag that was desperately hoping for a shot to nail her. He didn’t need that shit. Her and her jetblack hair and black eye makeup looking all goth and…He could have nailed her, if he wanted to, nail her right against the wall, but whatever.

Franklin was still steaming as he walked the convention floor. “I wonder what that goth bitch’s head would look like on a stick.” he thought to himself. While walking amongst the rest of the convention goers he thought he spotted a familiar face. He couldn’t quite make him out, but whoever it was they were wearing an old hunting cap. Walking down the aisle, whoever this person was, Franklin lost him in the crowd. Franklin now found himself by a booth selling horror movie posters. As luck would have it, the vendor had the poster for last year’s Freddy vs the Devil movie, as well as the previous movie in the Friday the 13th franchise, Devil X. Franklin didn’t care as much for off the wall entry in the Friday the 13th franchise. While he always liked post-apocalyptic Earth settings, the Devil going into outer space was just a little too much. Still, Franklin owned all the other Friday the 13th posters, so he decided to snap this one up as well as the Freddy vs. the Devil poster.

Scoring a spot in line for the Freddy vs. The Devil booth, Franklin reasoned it was probably better off that he left the role playing session early. Even now there was still a big line ahead of him. He wished he could get a chainsaw and mow through all these fucking people that were in his way, as he couldn’t wait to meet Kane Hodder for the first time. Kane reprised his iconic role as Freddy Krueger in last year’s smash horror crossover film. Finally, once everyone got out of his fucking way, he almost laughed out loud at what he saw. There was Robert fucking Englund of all people, his little body tried to fill the imposing Jersey Devil costume of the Friday the 13th series. For the life of him Franklin couldn’t figure out how Robert got this role. In some parallel universe inside Franklin’s own mind, it would have at least gone to someone like Ken Kirzinger. Pointing his finger at Englund, Franklin mocked “Haha, Freddy kicked your ass!” The actor knew not to say shit as he signed Franklin’s newly bought poster. Franklin even gave a thumbs down during their picture together. 

Finally, Franklin saw the man he travelled across the country to see. “Yeah, there’s the man right there!” Franklin shouted as he shook the hand of Kane Hodder, who was all decked out in his Freddy Kreuger outfit and makeup. Nodding to that little bitch of a Devil, Franklin said “You showed that pussy what’s up huh!” As Kane’s large hands reached towards him, Franklin knew what was coming next. Hodder was known for giving his fans a lovingly squeeze on the throat during photo ops. “Damn, he does squeeze tight,” he thought to himself as the convention staffer took the photo. 

Now he was really getting his money’s worth as the actor gave him a bit of a violent shake as the camera flashed. “Calm the fuck down.” He heard Hodder whisper as the polaroid emerged from the camera. Franklin quickly wiped his eyes as he took the photo and staggered away. Looking back at the graphic hanging above the booth, he was thrilled to see that Freddy vs the Devil was not only getting a sequel, but it would add another horror icon into the mix. “Freddy vs the Devil vs Ash! That is so cool!” he said while Kane gave a polite nod as another convention staffer led Franklin away from the booth. 

“You alright?” the convention staffer asked. Wiping his eyes again, Franklin thought this bitch needed to mind her own business. Ash from the Evil Dead films was going to be in a movie crossover with the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street Series, of course he was going to be alright.

Walking through the convention floor again, he heard someone say. “Sick shirt.” A man dressed up as Marvel Comics’ Blade commented on Franklin’s Jeffrey Dahmer T-shirt. 

“I know it is.” Franklin replied, presuming that was a compliment. Franklin thought this fan’s Blade outfit was pretty cool too. Blade III was coming out this December, and Franklin wondered if comic book movies would ever cross over like the horror characters now were. One of the big bits of news from this convention was that, due to the success of Freddy vs The Devil, a crossover film would be made with the Hellraiser series. Franklin was so stoked for who Pinhead from Hellraiser would be fighting. For the first time in over 20 years, Michael Meyers from the first two Halloween movies would return to film, and would be facing off against Pinhead. If Marvel or DC could ever start making movies where their comic book superheroes cross with each other, that would do some big business.

Regardless, the early aughts were turning out to be a great time to be a horror fan, and one of the reasons was the man he was going to see next. George Kohler directed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake which was a smash success, and as a result every studio was going through their vaults to see what old scary titles they could dust off and repackage. Prom Night, Maniac Cop, Stepfather, My Bloody Valentine, When a Stranger Calls, The Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left, Black Christmas, Pumpkinhead, Silent Night Deadly Night, and countless more were greenlit for a remake.

He went into the ballroom where George Kohler would be speaking. Coming into the large room, he spotted that hunter’s cap again. Whoever wore it was sitting down in the middle section. Franklin walked over thinking he’d join him, but he soon became lost among the flood of fans, who all cheered when George took the stage.

Kohler wasn’t here to talk about Psycho II, his third feature film which as usual had controversy. Franklin remembered when he was a teenager seeing the first Psycho in the theaters. It was so awesome, with a twist that completely blew his mind. Psycho II did the same, where the end reveals Norman Bates was killed by a hitchhiker from the first act, and the identity of the movie’s main killer Franklin never would have guessed. Near the end of filming Psycho II Kohler had to leave the set due to a personal tragedy and a friend of his directed the final remaining scenes.

Today Kolhler wasn’t here to talk about movies, but his new book, Deviant. Franklin was super stoked about it. He boisterously cheered along with everyone else in the audience while George took the stage. George waved politely. “Thank you for coming. I really appreciate it. My father wasn’t a fan of this scene,” 

As soon as Franklin heard this he let out a loud “boo!” The best part was he could tell it registered on George’s face. Still, the director continued. 

“but he was really proud of me.”  All the sheep then cheered at this sentimental shit. Some old red headed hag in the front row was even crying. What the fuck was she crying for? It didn’t matter. George went on to explain the topic of his book, which was how some bizarre events intersected with the lives of several members of his family, including an incident with a murderer who went undiscovered for 50 years along with another unrelated incident with a family of psychopaths that were mixed up with the mob. “I know a lot of you want to go out to Plainfield and see this stuff for yourself, but there’s nothing there to see, and the townspeople don’t like the attention. There’s a lot of good people there, as well as the rest of the great state of Wisconsin. I should know, my family is from there.” George then elaborated how the authorities wanted to keep a lid on things at first, but, given everything that happened, including what happened to George’s father, George decided to, after talking it over with his sister and the authorities, publish this book and put it all out there in the open. 

After his talk he took a few questions from his fans. Some people asked him about Psycho II and why he made the decision to kill off Norman Bates. “I think Robert Bloch would have wanted that.” George then explained that the author, who wrote the novel Psycho just before he died in 1994, may have been a horror fan, but he wasn’t a fan of some of the violence in horror movies. “He sucked.” Franklin thought to himself. George speculated that Bloch might not have wanted, for example, four movies about Norman Bates killing people. Having said that, while he couldn’t reveal plot details, George assured his fans that there still would be a Psycho III. Not only that, but a Bates Motel prequel series was in the works about a young Norman Bates and his mother set in the 1970s.

After the talk Franklin got in line to meet George and buy his book. “I’m from Plainfield.” was the first thing Franklin said when meeting the author.

“Oh really,” George said. “Wow, thanks for coming all the way out here.” 

Franklin immediately went to the question that had been burning in his brain.

“So when can we expect the Ed Gein movie?”

“Never.” George answered immediately, following up with, “I mean if someone else makes it I can’t stop them, but there won’t be an Ed Gein movie from me.” He then handed Franklin the autographed book and turned his attention to the next fan in line.

Once again Franklin was led out of the line, and once again he was enraged. How the fuck would George not make an Ed Gein movie. The best horror movie ever fell right into his lap, and he was going to throw it away. Here was a chance to put Franklin’s little shit town on the cinematic map, it had to happen. Franklin didn’t give a shit about his dead dad; he wanted his fucking movie. One way or another, that movie was going to get made, even if it was over George’s dead body.

It was then that Franklin noticed him again. He was still wearing that old hunters hat. As Franklin watched him on the convention floor everything else around him started to look blurry, almost as though he  was dreaming. Franklin was starting to feel dizzy, like he was detached from his body which was making slow steps towards the image of the man in front of him. Upon closer look he recognized that little glob of flesh that hung from his eye. He knew it from old pictures the local news showed on TV last year. 

“Want me in a movie huh?” The fellow Wisconsinite said. “You do what I tell you, and they’ll even make one of you.”

Hungry for more. Stay tuned for the final chapter of this trilogy of pop culture alternate history. No Gein III: The Final Cut, coming soon!

Part Seventeen: These are the Days

August 5th, 1998, Wisconsin

“Boy they sure murder you on this popcorn!’ Bernice said as she put her change back in her purse. Her grandson carried a large tray towards her great grandkids, Tommy and Lindsey, along with their friends. The pre-teens eagerly snatched the bags of popcorn and paper cups filled with soda. Bernice remembered when she could see movies for a whole year on the amount of money she’d just spent, and these were matinee prices!

No matter though, these were her golden years, her platinum years even, in which she not only enjoyed grandchildren, but great-grandchildren, both of whom she spoiled rotten. She’d long sold her hardware store, and she and Ronald, her second husband of over 30 years, now enjoyed all of their free time. 

The screen lit up the darkened theater as the previews began. Bernice smiled as the trailer began with a familiar tune. She figured the kids wouldn’t recognize the song Mr. Sandman by the Chordettes, but to her it brought back fond memories. Then the mood of the trailer shifted as that familiar 90’s preview voice spoke. “It’s 1998, in a California beach side town.” It then cut to a group of kids boasting about having a Halloween party. 

Bernice blushed as the characters joked about having a roaming orgy. “What the hell is this?” her husband Ronald complained, probably not wishing to explain the word “orgy” to the young ins. Bernice just laughed, figuring the kids heard much worse than this, given the kinds of things they put on TV these days.

On screen characters also took issue with the teen’s behavior. An attractive teacher says, “No booze, no drugs, no kidding.” Then the trailer cut to the action. In the nature of trailers these days which gave away half the movie, the kids in the theater laughed and cheered as one by one the horny teens were dispatched by a mysterious shape.

That familiar trailer voice returned saying “The face of evil, will meet the face of good.” Some in the audience laughed, and others groaned, as a familiar, but long forgotten face appeared on the cue of “the face of good.” Ronald smiled as he recognized the face of Sylvester Stallone, whose career had fallen far from the heights of the 1980s. Ronald remembered when a few years back the actor even tried a few comedies. Hopefully, Ronald thought, a horror movie would be Sly’s ticket back over to the top of the movie business.

 “This time,” the voice over said, while images of what looked to be a sea creature floated across the screen, “it’s going to be a fight to the finish.”  

It looked like the eighties all over again as Stallone faced the screen, his wet muscles bulging as his hands gripped a shotgun. In his trademark deep voice, he said “Hey yo,” then, pumping the shotgun, ‘this monster’s gotta go!”  Like the action films of old, bullets were flying, and boats exploded on the water while Stallone spouted out lines like, “I shot it six times!” and “You don’t know what death is!” 

The trailer’s narrator concluded with, “At this beach, terror won’t be taking a vacation.”

The words “Halloween: H20” then appeared onscreen.  

“Cool.” One of Tommy’s friends blurted out. “I hope it’s better than Halloween: Resurrection of the Vampire!” 

“Be quite Franklin!” Tommy said, shushing his friend. Ronald was also annoyed but Bernice just smiled. She presumed the kids would want to see this once it came out in a couple months.

Finally, the feature presentation started. Bernice liked it already, it had the credits upfront the way movies used to, with a shrieking violin orchestrating the soundtrack. One credit got Ronald’s attention “Based on the novel by Robert Bloch.” 

“He was a local author,” he whispered to his wife. Ronald knew Bloch wasn’t from Plainfield of course, but he did graduate high school in Milwaukee. As the movie Psycho properly began, Ronald remembered hearing about the book. It was the author’s last work before he died about four years back. He said nothing as another familiar credit lit the screen. “Directed by George Kohler. He remembered the Kohler family from his home up the road in Amherst.

Not long into the movie the teens hooted and hollered at the sight of a beautiful woman taking off her clothes and getting in the shower. “Yeah, let’s see some titties!” Franklin yelled, but much to his disappointment, there were no naked female breasts to be seen.

Ronald didn’t like the outburst, but he did enjoy the sight of the woman in the shower. It was an actress he’d seen in a few other films recently, a Jamie something. She reminded him of Janet Leigh, who was an actress he enjoyed back in the 1960’s. Thoughts of this starlet vanished once he felt his wife’s soft skin squeezing his hand as she whispered, “I remember when I looked like that.”

The elderly couple had seen their share of horror movies, and sitting near the front of the dark theater, they were not frightened, but both were a little disturbed. Not at the murder scene on screen, as what looked like a female form pulled back the shower curtain and stabbed the young beauty to death, but that the kids laughed and cheered while it happened. Franklin particularly took delight at this scene, mimicking the stabbing motions while the violin music played. 

After the movie they all went to the skating rink in Hancock, Bernice and her husband sat down at a table with the kids. Pizza pies and soda were spread out ready to be consumed while the jukebox played a mix of current pop music.

“How did you like the movie? Bernice asked her great grandson Tommy.

“It was great! Tommy said. “It was so scary, and that ending was crazy!”

“Did you like it? Her great grand-daughter Lindsey asked.

“Yeah, I liked it, it was a scary one.” 

Tommy agreed, “Yeah it was, and that ending was nuts!”

As Bernice thought about that ending, with a twist she was sure no one saw coming, she had a strange moment of reflection. “That Norman Bates sure was an odd fellow.” she said, “He kind of reminded me of old Eddie Gein.”

“Who’s Eddie Gein? Lindsey asked.        

“He could have been your great grandfather!” Ronald teased.

“Oh, stop it!” Bernice swatted him on the arm.

“Oh, it’s true,” Ronald persisted, “he used to hit on Bernice all the time.” He then excitedly leaned toward the children, as if about to tell a secret. “He even asked her to come roller skating right here!” His old, wrinkled finger pointed down to the ground as he spoke.

“Oh you!” Bernice’s cheeks were glowing red.

“What happened to him?” Tommy asked.

“Oh, he died in a fire way way back.” Bernice thought hard about exactly when it was but couldn’t recall anymore. “Shame really, poor guy.”

“Well why did he remind you of Norman Bates?” Franklin inserted himself into the conversation.

“Well, the poor man was dominated by his mother all his life, kind of like that Norman.” Bernice noted. “Wouldn’t let him have any friends, I don’t think he ever even had a girlfriend.”

“Did he kill anybody?” Franklin asked excitedly.

“Franklin you’re never gonna have a girlfriend either if you don’t stop talking about serial killers all the time.” Tommy objected.

Bernice laughed, “Oh goodness no, no no no, but he lived all alone in a spooky farmhouse, kind of like the house in the movie. All the kids in town thought it was haunted. Especially after he died, we would all tell stories about seeing his ghost at night and all such things ha-ha. Most people remember him as a good man though. Always willing to help people out, he was harmless,” Bernice remembered, “if not a little odd.” 

“What kind of stories?” Franklin pressed, anxious to hear further details.

“Oh god, we got Franklin started on killers again.” One of the teens said in annoyance. 

“Come on let’s go play some Mortal Kombat.” Tommy said as he and his friends ran to the skating rink’s arcade section.

Franklin remained, still pushing to hear more. “What kind of stories, did you ever see any ghosts?”

“You go run along now.” Ronald said, waving his hand at Franklin in irritation. “Go play with your friends.” 

The kids then spent the rest of the afternoon playing video games and roller skating as the music continued to play. After a while, they all gathered back at the table to sing happy birthday to Tommy. Bernice Worden didn’t know the band Burn Victims, but their lyrics echoed through the skating rink. “These are the days to remember,” with the word “days” drawn out by the female singer. Bernice smiled as the song played. These were the days for her to remember, enjoying the love and the company of four generations of family and friends. As her great grandson blew out the candles on his Michael Jordan birthday cake, she thought about how next year she would be one hundred years old. Regardless of if she even made it that far, she sure felt lucky for what she had.

The End

Happy Halloween! Hope you all are safe and taking care of yourselves, and I hope you enjoyed this experiment in horror and alternate history. How many pop culture deviations did you find? What was the first one you noticed? Feel free to comment below. If you enjoyed this, stay tuned for No Gein Two: A Second Helping! 

Part Nine: Yours Truly, Robert Bloch 

October 26th, 1990. Hallow-Con New York City

George browsed a book vendor while waiting for the auditorium to open for tonight’s panel. A blue covered book caught his eye, on the cover of which was the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolfman. Flipping through its pages, he remembered reading this book as a kid; which was titled Movie Monsters by Alan Ormsby. Placing it back on the table, he noticed a few movie novelizations and spin-off books. George spotted a Halloween novel; it wasn’t an adaptation of one of the movies though. The title read, “Halloween: The Return of Michael Myers.” by Nicholas Grabowsky. This book also brought back memories of film school, back when he borrowed this book from Dan. George recalled those early days in the student dormitory arguing about the novel, which was an original story where both Michael Myers and Dr. Gavin survived the explosion at the end of Halloween II. Myers awakens from a ten-year coma to wreak havoc on Haddonfield, and Dr. Gavin returns to again save Laurie Strode, who now has a daughter. George thought this would have been a much better movie than what the fourth Halloween movie turned out to be, especially with that incredible twist ending. Myers is legitimately blown up in the climax, but the novel ends with Laurie Strode getting killed by her now psychotic eight-year-old daughter, who has inherited her uncle’s madness. Dan didn’t agree though, as he loved Carpenter’s vision for the franchise. That disagreement didn’t matter anymore now. Looking down at the book, he realized that was the first time in a while that he’d thought about his film school days.

Putting the book back on the table, he wondered if Dan read the novel sitting next to it. Judging by the cover, Halloween: The Revenge of Britti Loyd, apparently followed the exploits of the child psychotic from the previous cool. He began to browse the book sitting next to that. Halloween: Child’s Play, was a crossover novel where the killer girl gets with Chucky, the evil doll from the Child’s Play series. The vendor told him a new crossover novel was coming out soon, mixing the two aforementioned series with the new Puppet Master films. “That sounded fun,” George thought to himself.

He then spotted a book he’d recognized. American Gothic was a novel he’d read as a teenager. It was about this guy named H. H. Holmes who had a literal torture chamber in his house. The thing was this case was actually real. Dr. Holmes Murder Castle was a factual account of the real-life case by the same author of American Gothic, the same author he was going to meet tonight. He hadn’t read the factual account and decided to buy both books. After paying and putting both books in his bag, he went into the now open auditorium. 

The special topic tonight was the history of the horror film, hosted by the man George sought to meet, Robert Bloch. George was growing to like his work, but he wondered why Bloch was presenting on this topic, since he had little if anything to do with horror movies. As the author was introduced, George now realized, per the MC’s introduction, that Bloch wrote television episodes for shows George liked, such as Monsters, Tales of the Unexpected, and Darkroom. Not only that, but he also wrote episodes of the original Star Trek, Night Gallery, and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. The MC joked that Robert Bloch had the heart of a young boy, which he keeps in a jar on his desk. This elicited laughter from the audience and Robert Bloch took the stage.

After receiving a warm reception, the author graciously thanked the convention for having him, then jested “You were too cheap to ask Stephen King and you knew I needed lunch money.” The audience laughed some more. George did not expect to find the master of psycho tales to be cracking jokes, but there he was.

Naturally Bloch began his lecture with the golden age of horror of the 1930’s and 40’s. He pointed out how the classic monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman were all foreigners, and/or characters from European folklore. Then in the 50’s you had the nuclear monsters in the wake of the atomic bomb. George remembered watching those movies. His dad and his sister liked them too. He remembered one time he covered himself with a blanket trying to scare his sister while they watched The Blob. He rolled over to her in his disguise and Helen just laughed hysterically.

There wasn’t as much to cover in the 1960s, but Bloch noted that the 1970s brought a pronounced change. George cheered ferociously at the mention of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Hearing such an exuberant response, Bloch pointed to George and said, “I bet you loved the sequel, the Tennessee Slumber Party.” to which George and everyone else howled in laughter. Bloch went on to explain how the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a 1974 film about a group of hillbillies in rural Texas. The lead villain, a deformed character named Saw-man, dispatched random motorists with his trusty chainsaw. George wished with all his heart that that movie could have turned into a series. In his mind it could have stood up there with the modern franchises like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. Unfortunately, in the real world, a sequel never came.

Bloch’s point about Chainsaw was, while it was not a big hit, it marked a new trend of homegrown American horror, scary stories of not a foreign or alien menace, but about your neighbor, the guy next door. Other movies mentioned included Last House on the Left, and The Hills Have Eyes, which Bloch joked was followed by the sequel the Woods have Noses. Bloch theorized that in the wake of the Manson murders and the social unrest of the 1960s, audiences were developing a taste for real life and brutality in their horror. George was never academic about his fandom, but he was unsure of Bloch’s theory. After all, as the author himself had said, the aforementioned films were not big hits.

Halloween was mentioned, which brought about a big cheer. “If you remember, the first two Halloween movies were not about ghosts and werewolves,” Bloch reminded the audience. “It was about a boy, Michael Myers, who was a psychotic killer. Michael Myers wasn’t from another country or from outer space, he was from any-town USA. Now, hearing the cheers in this crowd, assuming you’re not cheering for me,” to which the audience laughed again, “these movies obviously found an audience.” Another cheer erupted as Bloch continued, “but the truth was these weren’t very successful movies when you look at the box office. Now if you look in the last decade, we seemed to have taken the idea of the home-grown threat and brought it back to the monster. If you look at Halloween, it did inspire a sub-genre known as the slasher, with movies like the Burning and Sleepaway Camp, but they weren’t huge hits like 1980’s Friday the 13th with its Jersey Devil, or like CHUD, or Critters, or the Thing remake. You did have ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’, with Freddy Kreuger being slasher-esque, but he’s also like a ghost, more supernatural. Halloween itself got away from the slasher genre it helped create in its later installments, bringing in witches and ghosts and werewolves. Reportedly the next entry of that series is going to involve vampires. I have an idea for the following one though.” He then suggested, pointing his finger up in the air, “It should be about Jack the Ripper!” Again, the audience laughed, especially from those familiar with Bloch’s frequent works involving the infamous London serial killer.

“What will the 90s bring to horror cinema,” Bloch asked as he reached the end of his speech, “who knows? Sequels for all the big franchises are still in the works, but undoubtedly a new generation will come along with new characters that will make us Scream.“

After dinner Dan and Victoria sat in on a presentation on entertainment law. The presenter was a young woman, a lawyer who specialized in the entertainment business. Dan wouldn’t say it out loud, but she looked like she could be a movie star herself. She was quite attractive, with a special poise and intelligence about her, similar to what Dan saw in Victoria.

When the presentation ended the woman stayed to take questions from the audience. As Dan and Victoria approached, the woman greeted Dan with a smile and said, “Nice shirt.”

Dan looked down at his Halloween shirt that he totaly forgot he was wearing. “Thanks.” he said. Then looking back up at her he asked. “Are you a Halloween fan?”

“Yeah, I got a soft spot for the original.” The lawyer revealed. “Actually, I auditioned for a role in it.”

“Wait what!?!” Dan and Victoria were both surprised as Dan asked. “You were an actress?”

“Well, my mother was.” The woman said. “You probably never heard of her. Janet Leigh?” 

Dan drew a blank, but Victoria recognized that name. “Oh, I know her, she was in the Manchurian Candidate and Angels in the Outfield!”

“That’s right!” The woman said, pleasantly surprised.

“And she was in Touch of Fear!” Victoria added enthusiastically.

“The Orson Wells classic.” The woman said, then pointing at Victoria, she said to Dan. “That’s a smart girl you have there.” 

“Thanks,” Dan said, “she’s the best.” 

“Aww that’s so sweet.” The woman said, admiring the young couple’s affection for each other.

“So, you tried to be an actress?” Victoria asked.

“Well, when I was young the acting bug got me, so I dropped out of law school to give it a shot. My big break never came through.” she explained, revealing no remorse over her path in life. “Eventually I went back to school, became an entertainment lawyer, and here I am!”

“That’s really cool.” Victoria said. “Do you ever regret it, not getting to act?”

“Sometimes I think about it, but I like what I’m doing.” she answered.  “Who knows, maybe someday I’ll take another stab at it!” she said laughing while thrusting her hand in a stabbing motion. “In the meantime, if you ever need representation here is my card.”

Both Dan and Victoria took her business card. Dan looked down to read it. “Jamie Curtis.” Looking up he said, “Well it was nice to meet you.”

“Nice meeting you too!” Jamie Curtis said. She smiled as the young couple walked away. The lawyer then turned to chat with the last few people remaining in the room.

Part Seven: The Master of Horror

October 26th, 1990. Hallow-Con, New York City

Victoria, like most everyone else at the convention, was excited to meet Tom Savini, the master of gory special effects. Savini did effects work for such classics as Dawn of the Dead, Maniac, The Burning, Creepshow, and Friday the 13th, hence the long line at the Friday the 13th booth for his autograph. While waiting with Dan she rolled her eyes as George bragged about the all the times he’d already met him.

Strategically adjacent to Savini was the booth for the current Friday the 13th TV series. Dan and Victoria were happy to meet Chris Wiggins, Eliaz Zarou, and Steve Monarque while moving along in line. Talking to the cast of the series, they got to look at a few props from the show, which was about cursed items from a pawn shop and had nothing to do with the films. Dan took Victoria’s picture while she tried on the cursed apron, which was worn in an episode by a distraught camp cook whose son drowned in a lake. George picked up a hockey mask laying among the props, making Victoria remember another episode where a guy got ahold of that mask and turned into an unkillable psychopath. Victoria and Dan both agreed that would have made a good movie.

The hockey mask fit perfectly over George’s face, and through the eyeholes he could see across the aisle to the Nightmare on Elm Street booth. Its star, Kane Hodder, who played Freddy Krueger, was present signing autographs. As usual, unable to contain his excitement, George screamed “Kane Hodder!” Kane laughed as he looked across the aisle to see this big man wearing a hockey mask waving at him. Kane waved back and smiled politely as he continued signing autographs for his fans.

Victoria and her fiancé were both glowing as they finally reached the end of the line. “Hey big guy!” Tom seemed to recognize George from past conventions and happily shook his hand. Victoria was afraid George would yap with him forever, but fortunately he did not, and her and Dan were next.

“I’m so thrilled to meet you!” Victoria blushed. Tom graciously shook her hand as she felt a rush of excitement. She flashed back to all those times as a young teenager, watching horror movies on her dirty couch, never even daring to dream that someday she would be here before him. To Victoria and her fiancé, this moment was like what meeting Michael Jordan or Joe Montana would be to people outside these convention walls. The couple were absolutely thrilled to talk with Tom, who could not have been more friendly.

To George, meeting Savini may have become old hat, but he was still excited due to what was standing right next to the horror effects master. There it was, decked out in full costume straight out of the movies, what was considered to be Tom’s greatest creation. It was massive, lumbering, evil. While her fiancé made small talk with Tom, Victoria noticed George looking over the creature the way most men would look over her. His eyes went up and down the monstrous body, appreciating every little detail, from the fangs and claws down to the last little bloody scar. There before him, stood the Jersey Devil of the Friday the 13th series. 

Naturally, Dan and Victoria admired the beast as well. “I always wanted to ask you this.” Dan said nervously.  “Is it true there was a different story in mind for the first Friday the 13th film?”

“Well, I didn’t write the script, but most of the people on the crew were big fans of Halloween.” The master explained while pointing to Dan’s Halloween shirt. “From what I remember, the original story was going to have a human killer.” Looking at Victoria he added “If I recall they were even thinking of a female villain. Thing was, Halloween wasn’t a huge hit, so the financiers were a little gun shy.” 

“Really!” Dan wondered aloud. “I thought Halloween was awesome!”

“Sure, I mean the people that come to shows like this love it,” Tom said, “but remember it wasn’t really a successful movie. Some of it was great, but they needed a better lead actress.”

“I loved that red head!” George interjected, refering to the actress from the first Halloween. Victoria’s eyes rolled as he motioned with his hands. “She had that nice big rack!”

“Uh, yeah,” Tom nervously laughed. “She couldn’t act though, they needed someone to play Laurie Strode with some vulnerability. Michael Myers was such a great villain, and Donald Pleasence was pitch perfect as Dr. Gavin. If they’d just cast a good lead that could have put the movie over the top.” George continued admiring the creature while Victoria and Dan nodded in understanding.

“Anyway, Sean Cunningham got a new group of investors for the film,” Tom went on to explain, “and these new investors pushed for a monster. There hadn’t been a good monster movie in a while, and we thought, hell since we’re filming in New Jersey anyway, why not make it the Jersey Devil?”

“Too bad about not having a female killer.” Victoria thought out loud. “We don’t get too many of those, aside from Carrie I guess.”

“And Mary Lou from the Prom Night Sequels.” Dan added.

“That’s why I love you dear.” Victoria’s eyes twinkled at her fellow horror nerd.

“It’s probably all for the best though.” George again interjected. Pointing to the Devil, he said “That thing is awesome. Who’s under the mask? Is it C. J. Graham or Dan Bradley?”

“That’s the one and only Tim Mirkovich.” Savini revealed.”

“Oh sweet, straight from Part Eight.” George said excitedly. “I wasn’t sure if you were going to be here!”

The young couple then got their pictures taken with both Tom and the Devil. George also got his Friday the 13th Part 8: The Devil Takes Manhattan poster autographed. “This is the best Friday ever!” George said. “I loved that chase scene on the Brooklyn Bridge, and that scene where the Devil dives off the Statue of Liberty was so cool!”

“Thank you.” Tom said. “Those were really hard scenes to shoot; we’re sure glad you appreciate them.”

“So, what’s the next movie going to be about?” Victoria asked.

“Well, we don’t know where else to take him.” Tom started thinking on his feet. “We did Jersey, we did New York,” Tom laughed while speculating, “Maybe next the Devil should go back to hell!”

“That would rule!” George said, his eyes still on the beast. More fans were gathered around to meet Savini, so the trio and Tom made their final greetings. Walking away with the autographs and pictures, Victoria could have gone home right then and there and would have been happy.

October 26th, 1990. Bethlehem Pennsylvania

The Second Street Tavern was filled with music as Henry watched her daughter take a shot. He’d long dispatched Phil from the pool table, who was now on stage jamming with Steve. Henry was growing to like the local music scene. He liked it more when an attractive red head walked in with a guitar slung around her back. He gave her a quick smile as he heard her daughter say “Shit!” after the sound of the cue ball hitting the side of the pool table for a scratch. “Your shot dad.” 

He remembered his daughter being a better player than this as he looked over the table. She’d missed an easy corner shot that set him up to knock one of his own in the side pocket.  Looking at her while he set up his shot, she seemed annoyed.

“What’s wrong hon?” He asked while easily making the shot.

“I don’t know, I’m still upset George didn’t come out.”

“You’re here, that’s what counts.” he said while eyeing up his next shot.

“But it’s our family. I guess I just expected him to be here, because, well you know.”

“Well, he probably doesn’t remember Aunt Sally too much.” Henry reasoned as he sank another ball. “Do you remember her?”

“Yeah, a little. I remember going to see her in the hospital, and I remember when she stayed with us for a while. She would let me and George watch cartoons when you wanted us to do homework.”

“Yeah,” Henry laughed while looking over his next shot, “she was a free spirit. Our parents were really tough on both of us, and she just had it in her so much to rebel.” He went on to reveal, “Sometimes mom and I knew she was letting you watch movies or sneaking you treats. We let her go, figured she should have some fun with you while she could.”

“Were things really that bad for her?”

Sinking another solid Henry said, “She was in and out of trouble as long as I could remember.” Looking over at the bar’s Age of Purchase calendar he added, “Once she was gone, I mean it was devastating, but nobody was really surprised.” He then looked at the table to set up his final shot. “None of this is on George though, he’s got to go his own way.”

“When’s the last time you even talked to him?” Helen asked.

Eyeing up his final shot, about to win another game he answered, “I don’t know, it’s been a while.”

Part Four: Hallowed Visions

October 26th, 1990. Hallow-con, New York City

Victoria held Dan’s hand as they walked down the aisle looking at all the vendors. She spotted a group of guys sitting around a table with a few hardcover books, sheets of paper, and twenty-sided die, “Oh look?” her black lipstick shined as she smiled. “Should we see if we can join this session?” 

“Sure, let’s check it out.” Dan answered as they approached the area set up for a table-top role playing game. Every guy at the table shifted their focus on the approaching couple. One of the guys nodded in approval of Dan’s shirt from the first Halloween movie. The rest of them grinned at the sight of Victoria in her tight leather top. “You guys playing?” she asked.

“You bet.” one of the gamers said as he stroked his little beard. “We’re setting up for a Ravenloft session. Wanna play?”

“Yeah that would be great.” Victoria said, excited as she and Dan sat at the table.

A pencil thin guy seated with the group looked sharply at Victoria and asked. “Do you know what Ravenloft is?”

“No, I don’t!” Victoria’s pale face lit up as she asked, “Can you tell me?”

“Well, it’s Dungeons and Dragons with some horror elements.” the man said. His voice deadpan serious as he asked. “Do you know what Dungeons and Dragons is?”

Putting her finger in her mouth like a valley girl from the recently passed decade, Victoria said “Uh, yeah, like I think I heard of it.”

The man then condescendingly raised a sheet of paper in his hand. “Ok, well this is a character sheet that you use to play in the Ravenloft setting.” While his eyes locked on her cleavage he continued to explain, “You have different skills and abilities, and..”

“And you encounter the Dark Lords like Strahd Von Zarovich, ruler of Barovia who wishes to win back is love Tatyana.” The nerds jaws dropped, some out of surprise, others out of infatuation watching her finish, “Or, Vlad Drakov, whose military ambitions are forever doomed to failure. It’s a pretty dark place, but at least Vecna and Lord Soth managed to escape.” Finally, two of her black nailed fingers pointed back to her face as she knelt toward him and yelled “And by the way, my eyes are up here asshole!” before storming away. 

“Nice job dipshit!” she heard behind her as Dan caught up. 

“Sorry about that,” Dan sounded so embarrassed. “You OK?”

“Nothing to be sorry about.” Victoria then eyed the large back blocking the aisle ahead and said, “That guy’s gonna be sorry if he doesn’t stop blocking the way.”   

As the large man looked around, Dan squeezed Victoria’s hand. “Oh my god, I think I know that guy.”

Taking a few steps closer, she heard him yell out “George! George!” The man turned around and waved as Dan asked, “George it’s really you?”

“Of course, it’s me!” the man answered. 

“Long time no see brother! How are you?” Victoria watched Dan excitedly high five the man while other convention goers walked around them.

“I’m good, I’m good.” Dan’s friend said before eying Victoria up.

“This is my fiancé, Victoria.” Dan introduced. “She got to school after you were gone.” Then turning to her, Dan said, “Honey, this is George.”

“Nice to meet you.” she said as she noticed the General Hospital picture George was putting into his black bag. “Oh, you got John York’s autograph!” she said excitedly.

“Yeah,” Victoria was a little confused as George now looked like he could barely hide his irritation. She then understood as he explained. “It’s for my sister.”

“That’s so sweet of you to do that. I’m sure you’re a fan of General Hospital too, right?”

She realized by his facial expression George had no idea she was kidding. Thankfully Dan intervened with, “Last season of Werewolf!”

“I know, that totally blows.” Geroge instantly reacted. “I was talking to ‘Eric’ though, and he told me they’re wrapping the story line up. So at least there’s that. I hate when things end on a cliffhanger!”

“Awesome man!” Dan said.” Well, we’re gonna check out some posters at this venue here.” Dan pointed to a booth down the aisle.

“Cool, I want to get the new Friday the 13th poster.” Victoria now realized George would be joining them.

Making their way through the swarm of people, the trio came to a booth that had bins of posters, including several large posters on displays facing out towards the crowd. One of the posters facing out featured a ferocious looking werewolf chasing a young girl through a back alley. 

“Remember when we saw that back in school?” Dan remenisced.

“I do remember that.”  George answered.

Dan pumped his fist remembering. “Man, I was so excited that they finally put a Halloween movie back in the theaters.” 

“Are you a Halloween fan?” Victoria asked George.

“I liked the series,” he answered, “but I’m more of a Friday the 13th fan myself.” Halloween is cool, but I like following a series like Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street that tells one continuous story.”

“Yeah, I hear you.” Dan said. “I was always a fan of carpenters vision though. I got all the posters except number three. Hoping to score that one here.”

“I never saw that one anywhere.” George said. 

“That’s the first one they released direct to video,” Dan relayed to George, “and they didn’t make a lot of promotional material for it. Really sucks.”

“It’s in here somewhere.” The vendor poked his head out from behind the display while finishing a transaction with another customer. “If you dig around here long enough, you’ll find it.”

“Cool,” Victoria looked back at him and asked, “Do you have the poster for Night Skies?”

“It’s in there somewhere hon.” The vendor winked at her as he answered.

While Victoria started digging through the bins George pointed back to the poster for Halloween Six: Curse of the Werewolf, to say, “I heard there’s a producer’s cut of that movie.”

“There is,” Dan said with a devilish smile on his face before revealing, “I saw it.”

“That’s so cool!” George said as he began looking through posters himself. “I wouldn’t mind seeing it.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.” Dan recalled, himself now looking through a bin of posters. “Somebody on campus got a hold of it last year. They explain more of the lore and stuff, but maybe the coolest part is that there’s an extra scene with Donald Pleasance!”

“He played the priest in that one, right?’ George asked.

“That’s right, Father Samuel.” Dan answered. “There’s a scene where he mentions he has a cousin in..,” Victoria smiled as she knew Dan loved talking about this, “guess where…” George shrugged his shoulders. “Haddonfield!”

“What!” The wheels were turning in George’s head. “Wait, so it’s linked to the first one?” Victoria knew George would be surprised at this news, as none of the Halloween sequels after part two were connected.

“Well who knows,” Dan speculated. “It could be just a gag for the fans, just like how in each entry someone is always watching the previous movie.”

“Right?” George recalled. “In part three a commercial for the first one comes on in a bar, right?”

“Correct” Dan said, “and in part four they go see part three in the theater.”

“I can’t remember what happened in the last two!” George said in frustration.

“Part five they rent part four from the local video store,” Dan said, “and part six they are on the set of part five.”

Both Dan and George turned to Victoria as she squealed in excitement. At long last she’d found the poster for the Stephen Spielberg horror film Night Skies. It featured a creepy image of Extra-Terrestrial aliens terrorizing a family on their farm, above the image of a little girl read the words “They’re here.” the movie’s famous catch phrase. “This scared the shit out of me when I was a kid!” she recalled, as she pulled the poster out of the bin and made her purchase.

Dan struck gold next. “Here you go George!” George rushed over to Dan who pulled out the last poster in the bin he was searching. It was a poster for last year’s Friday the 13th Part Eight. Dan admired the image of New York City in the background before he handed it off to George who immediately went to pay for it. Dan then walked over to the bin George had just been searching.

While George and Victoria paid for their finds, Dan finally struck paydirt. “Bingo!” His face lit up like a Christmas tree as he saw the silver letters that spelled out Halloween III at the top of the poster, on which red skies hung below a silhouette of a trio of trick or treating children. 

“Oh shit!” George excitedly quoted from the film’s poster. “The night no one comes home!” The trio high fived each other as Dan purchased the poster for Halloween Three: Season of the Witch. Victoria looked up at the displays of the other posters available. The vendor also had the poster for Halloween Six: Curse of the Werewolf. Victoria remembered how that was the first Halloween since number two to be put back in the theaters. It was a great movie, and it made werewolves cool for a couple years. She could see down the aisle where John York was happily signing autographs and mused that perhaps that cycle has come to a close. 

Victoria had only just met George, but she could already tell he usually wasn’t often quiet. He too was looking at the poster for Halloween Six, and she assumed he was reminiscing too, but she then realized George fixed his gaze on the woman, the woman and her bare legs, her bare legs and her skinned knee.

George snapped out of his trance at the sound of her asking him, “So, how long have you been a horror fan?”